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Nintendo Eyes Top Console Slot

7/21/2008 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Nintendo's outlook was upbeat at the Electronic Entertainment Expo Business Summit, here, as it was poised to take the top spot in video game hardware sales.

According to The NPD Group, Nintendo will become the best-selling hardware console in North America when The NPD Group's June sales figures come out, with 10 million Wii systems sold in America in the last 19 months. "No one saw this coming," said Billy Pidgeon, game analyst for research firm IDC. "Nintendo disrupted the market, and it is a very different playing field."

Much of that can be credited to the Wii's ability to reach a mass audience that rivals Sony and Microsoft have thus far been unable to completely tap. "Not even Nintendo employees could have imagined that the market would respond," said Nintendo president Satoru Iwata at E3, adding that the credit can also be owed to Nintendo selling, "millions of bathroom scales around the world."

He was of course referring to the success of Wii Fit, a title that blends game play with fitness. Likewise, the Wii Balance Board, which made Wii Fit possible, will further be utilized in a number of upcoming titles, notably the Ubisoft release Shaun White Snowboarding. It will be a Wii exclusive and will be out the holiday season.

Nintendo reported that nearly 60 million game titles had been sold in the console's first 19 months. And while the system is still a hot and in-demand system, one aspect that was not addressed was how Nintendo will respond to meet consumer demand. But perhaps keeping the system a "must-want" but can't-find console is part of what Iwata called the company's new paradigm.

Another aspect may be the continuing support from third-party developers, including Sega, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft. A total of 19 third-party titles have surpassed sales of 400,000 units, and the selection of games for Wii remains vast, with just about 220 titles released to date.

Nintendo's big hardware news was that the system's Wii remote will get a makeover with Wii Motion Plus, which will further enhance the controller's ability and make it a bit more precise. The new Wii Motion Plus will ship later this year as a bundle with Wii Sports Resort, a beach-themed follow-up to the popular Wii launch title.

For more on Nintendo's E3 introductions, visit www.TWICE.com.